WASHINGTON - Metro's largest union is calling for the termination of the head of the transit system after they say special accommodations were given to attendees of a white nationalist rally in Washington D.C. over the weekend.
ATU Local 689 members will rally at the District's Metro Center Station Thursday. Members will meet at noon for the “Truth, Unity and Justice” rally where they plan to call for the firing of General Manager Paul Wiedefeld.
Earlier in the week, FOX 5 spoke with ATU Local 689 President Jackie Jeter who said employees are disgusted after claims that preferential treatment was given to Unite the Right participants.
"Today, the public was lied to by WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld the same way he has been lying to this union for the last two years," Jeter said in a statement after the Unite the Right rally on Sunday. "The special accommodation for a hate rally in Washington D.C. was dishonest, unprecedented, and not a reflection of the principles of ATU Local 689 or "DC Values."
Leading up to the march Metro officials were insistent that the white nationalists would not receive any favorable treatment, including being allowed to ride on private trains or in private train cars.
"To be absolutely clear, Metro is not preparing a 'special train' for the private use of any group," Metro said in a news release prior to the rally. "As with any ridership-generating event (e.g. large sporting events, concerts, Fourth of July celebrations, and many First Amendment demonstrations), Metro will be prepared to add trains as needed to address crowding if necessary. Should platform crowding become a concern at any particular station, Metro Transit Police may temporarily restrict access for safety reasons, as they do routinely during large events."
Metro spokesperson Sherri Ly released the following statement on Sunday following the demonstration:
"All Orange Line trains were marked "special" as a destination today because they terminate at Foggy Bottom, which is not a normal terminus, because of major track work. The Kessler group traveled from Vienna to Foggy Bottom on a regularly scheduled train, together with other passengers, media and law enforcement. They were escorted by police onto the rear of the train and police rode in that rail car and others to protect the safety of everyone onboard the train. The train stopped at every station to allow any customers to enter and exit. Vienna station remained open to the public at all times. Any changes to traffic patterns were directed by police for crowd management."